Richard Stanley’s ‘Color Out of Space’ Offers Wonder, Horror and a Peek into the Iridescent Unknown




West of Archamus there are hills and valleys with deep forests that have never been chopped by an axe. There are dark and narrow gorges where the trees descend fantastically and where thin streams flow without ever catching the brilliance of the sunlight.

There are places in this world that seem to exist outside time. The hidden and forgotten land of wild animals dominated by the will of the flesh is so far removed from human meaning that it hardly seems natural to us. This is where magic seems to live, where the strange and the unknown can flourish and where fantasy ceases to be a fantasy.

Painting from space (2019) materializes in this place and takes root among the trees, which glide over the moments of their discovery, and appear like ancient entangled monoliths, almost extraterrestrial in a misty and subdued light. We then hear a voice that represents the film in the words of H.P. Lovecraft, who integrates a sense of primitive power into the story before it begins.

The Gardners are located in the vast plains of the estate. A somewhat stereotypical American unit that leaves city life for a quiet existence on an inherited farm. They are imperfect and combative, but they are united. However, it is a connection based on the status quo, her life has recently improved thanks to Theresa Gardner (Joley Richardson)’s struggle with cancer and the subsequent relocation of the family. The world is uncertain, they are left to their own devices, and as a result, their actions are increasingly dictated by their growing self-doubt.

The color of the title touches the hearts of these uncertain people. The neon ring in the sky, a shadow like no other, is the way Teresa and her husband Nathan (Nicholas Cage) make love for the first time since Teresa’s mastectomy six months earlier. His daughter Lavinia (Madeleine Arthur) lies in bed listening to music and tries to soften the harsh reality of her mother’s illness and her new country life when color enters her room. Their eldest son Benny (Brendan Meyer) stares freely at his computer screen, while their youngest Jack (Julian Hilliard) screams for his parents in the hallway, while the sight and sound of wild chrome particles enter his body.

The effects of the advent of color are an indicator of emotional dissonance, usually accompanied by a shocking trauma. Nathan folds over and pours the bourbon. Teresa is outraged by this situation and kisses Jack, who is petrified and stupid and especially wants to protect his motherhood. Benny’s scared, and Lavinia just wants it to stop. The family drama shown here might just as well have told us about the disruption of life caused by Teresa’s diagnosis as about the appearance of a potentially harmful alien.

Richard Stanley directs with a sharp eye and amazing vision. The film is an amazing display of brightness, the interplay of light and shadow – a master class in transforming a visual subject into a visible figure with a clear motivation. Colour works in its own way with each person, separating them and draining their insecurities, as long as only the core of what they have always feared to be remains.

Nicholas Cage is an exceptional man who, at a very young age, developed a stormy relationship with his intellectually abusive father, from whom he inherited the farm. When the color exhausted him physically and emotionally, he succumbed to his father’s evil and exaggerated his personality. He takes the intonations he used in the first moments of the film as a joke and gradually shakes up until he is only a high clone of his deceased father.

Yet, despite all his hilarious alpaca attacks and the drama of his obsessed daughter, there are as many manic attacks that have the opposite effect of laughter. The screaming and the hammers on the dashboard of his battery car and the screaming to his wife about the disgusting smell of cancer are just a few examples of the downside of the medal. The carelessness exists in life (Nathan’s embarrassing attention to the local news makes him feel more like a real father than almost any other character in the film), and his existence here is the key to the vitality of a fantasy story.

Each of the characters, who, due to the increasing size and suppleness of the total colour, is engaged in his or her own descent into madness. When her consciousness disappears and her psyche begins to slip, nature itself blossoms in understanding and time, imbued with a fragrant complexion – not coloured, but a kind of make-up. From small flowers that grow exponentially to bright insects that are born in colour, there is unmistakable beauty in change.

But just like Nathan’s transformation, evolution is absurd. After all, respect can accompany more than beauty, and the final phase of change often requires a prospectus bordering on the grotesque. Emotional regression in the face of tragedy can have negative side effects on any relationship. Even if their bodies had not been transformed, Nathan’s dependence on Bourbon, Teresa’s disgust for himself and Lavinia’s dedication to spells and self-mutilation rituals could quickly lead to the elimination of the family unit.

The film realizes the whirlwind of feelings of sorrow, oppression and pain through the culmination of the efforts of colour. Mutations, surreal and twisted visions of characters and animals are highlighted. Creatures that interact directly with the power of raw, undiluted colors. Many of these horrors are staged in combination with stunning practical effects and the imposition of computer-generated images, giving a weight and physical essence that perpetuates the terrifying effects of these creatures in the final act of the film.

In the end, the film reflects again on the immensity of what people don’t understand, don’t want to understand and can’t understand. The voice of the shepherd at the end of the film is again the same as at the beginning, the voice of the hydrologist Ward Phillips (Elliott Knight), a young outsider, who in the course of the film tries to approach the strangeness he encounters from a scientific point of view. But as we know, science is, after all, a human construction. In this case it is an ineffective serum against a virus from unknown parts.

The color of the room is a bombastic and innovative science fiction. The image of wonder and horror is so exciting, from the dazzling colour palette to the exciting soundscape, that it feels more like watching. Starting from real and vivid emotions and spiritual shocks, the extraterrestrial events caused by the interlocking star beings become even more important and influential when seen through the prism of Richard Stanley’s unusual vision.

There are places on this earth that are strange to us. Strange, beautiful points of helplessness and wonder. And if such places can exist where we live, breathe and die, imagine what is outside those areas where we can go. For if our existence is limited to the darkness of the snout in our own heads, the glow of the sun can be blinding.

Like an emissary of light from a distant sphere, pain and wonder can shake the system to the same degree. After all, a virgin land is not always there, sometimes it’s a feeling. I’ve been thinking. Flashlight.

The color. As H.P. Lovecraft assumed, insensitive and insane.